CHICAGO (STMW) – State police in the far south suburbs are warning motorists to stay off an “impassable” I-57 and area highways, which have forced dozens of motorists — and even and IDOT plow — to abandon their vehicles.

Interstate 57 near far south Kankakee — blanketed by four-foot drifts in some areas — is not passable as of about 1 a.m. Wednesday, Illinois State Police District 21 Sgt. Angie Kinstner said.

Although State Police have not officially closed the interstate, “nobody should be on it,” Kinstner urged.

Emergency officials are in the process of checking on motorists already stranded on the roadways and taking them to safety at local hotels or warming centers set up in Iroquois and Kankakee counties, she said. A recent sweep found nine stranded vehicles on a 10-mile stretch of I-57 located about thirty miles south of Kankakee.

Area highways are feeling the storm’s full force as well. Illinois Route 50 between far southwest suburban Peotone and Manteno is “totally impassable,” Kinstner said.

A trained spotter for the National Weather Service reported about 11 p.m. that drifts between two and four and a half feet high trapped 25 motorists, including an IDOT plow, according to the NWS website. A front-end loader was brought in to rescue those stranded, the spotter reported.

As of about 1:30 a.m., all motorists trapped on Route 50 have been checked on and taken to safety, but their vehicles could not be towed and remain on the road, Kinstner said.

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